Health Trends: Sweet Substitutes, Low-Cal Cocktails and the Five-Second Rule

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

What’s hot and not in health this week? Let’s explore the latest trends and info, including surprising sugar substitutes, guilt-free margaritas and a popular myth about germs.


Sweet surprises. Tired of the same old sweeteners? Try one of these healthy products to sweeten your food or beverages:

  • Dark chocolate – Yup, you read that correctly! Just drop a small square of dark chocolate in your coffee or tea to give it a tinge of bittersweet flavor, plus an antioxidant boost.
  • Date sugar – It’s exactly what it sounds like – sugar made from dates. Date sugar is a good choice to sweeten your morning cereal or favorite baked good because it’s is high in iron, potassium and filling fiber.
  • Honey crystals – Sprinkle some ginger honey crystals into your tea to add a sweet and spicy flavor.  

Low-cal cocktails. When you’re sipping cocktails, the calories can add up quickly. Try this recipe, which uses a fruity substitute for calorie-laden sour mix.

Skinny margarita:



The five-second rule. Your cookie – the one you’ve waited all day to eat – has just fallen on the floor. (Oh no!) You immediately snatch it up and brush it off, declaring, “five second rule!”

But is there any truth to this magical germ-free time frame? Not so, according to Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director at Loyola University Health System. Once something has touched a contaminated surface (such as a floor or desk), it picks up bacteria and microbes immediately. How much bacteria largely depends on the food item (wet vs. dry) and the surface it landed on, so if you decide to follow the five-second rule, keep that in mind.